THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXVIII, No. 10 June 18, 2001
SUPT DISSES CLERICAL UNIT
By PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
How would anyone feel to find that others doing the same work for their employer receive higher compensation? Angry? Frustrated? Cynical? Thats how members of the Clerical Unit of the PCT felt some years ago when the district decided that the confidential central office clerical employees were entitled to a stipend of $1500 above their PCT colleagues - $1500 additional dollars to people who work the same number of hours, pass the same civil service tests and who do tasks essentially indistinguishable from those of other educational support professionals (ESPs). Confidential employees, of which we have considerably more than most districts our size, are those who have been deemed by the district to do work so confidential in nature that they are not permitted to belong to the union representing ESPs.
Just when the anger over this management blunder had finally died down, along comes Dr. Brooks to pour salt on an old wound by proposing an increase in the stipend to a maximum of $2500. What makes this action even worse is the fact that Brooks clearly knew the history of the stipend and the very hard feelings its introduction caused. He nevertheless decided that this was so important to reward eight employees that he would risk alienating the seventy-five other ESPs in the district. This incredibly bad judgement might have been stopped by the Board of Education, but, sadly, they, too, didnt care.
Neither the Superintendent not the Board cared about the impact of their decision on a dedicated group of women who have literally carried the bureaucracy of POB on their backs through some of its darkest days, when those who are paid to make administrative decisions couldnt or wouldnt, and when if it hadnt been for the knowledge and experience of the members of the CUPCT many important school functions might have ground to a halt.
The CUPCT will hold a General Membership Meeting on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 at 4:15 PM in the Faculty Room of the Parkway School. The agenda will include the exempt clerical stipend and the failure of the district to provide adequate clerical staffing. A proposal to explore legal action to reduce the number of exempt clerical in the district will also be discussed. CUPCT members are urged to attend.
CHILD CARE REPORT
Several months ago the PCT formed a Child Care Committee to investigate the possibilities of developing a child care center in the school district for our members. That committee has been meeting regularly, to determine the needs of the membership, to consider service models and to interview providers and managers of child care facilities on Long Island.
The complexity of establishing our own child care center has made it clear that it will take at least a year to get a facility off the ground. The committee will shortly receive a proposal from an expert in the field on the space, staffing and equipment requirements in addition to an analysis of what the tuition costs will have to be to sustain the child care center.
At the June meeting of the PCT Executive Board, PCT President Morty Rosenfeld informed the representatives that the officers of our union will probably be coming to the Executive Board in the fall with a proposal that would have the union using some of its financial reserves to meet the start up costs of a child care center. The reserves belong to the members, and they are telling us daily that they need help with child care. We have always worked to provide the benefits our members need," said Rosenfeld.
PCT EDUCATIONAL POLICY
The first order of business for the newly recreated PCT Educational Policy Committee has been to look carefully at the elementary teacher work day to think how it might be modified to deliver instruction more effectively and efficiently while relieving the staggering burdens now placed on the classroom teacher.
While the work of the committee has just begun, its discussions have already been helpful. Some important ideas are starting to take shape concerning how we might find time within the existing day for collaborative classes and a mentor/intern program. A very careful analysis is being done of each building to determine the extent to which teachers are presently spending time in class doing chores that are either unnecessary or which could be done more efficiently and free the classroom teachers to do other professional things.
The work of the Educational Policy Committee has also served the very useful purpose of educating the secondary members of the committee (of which there are presently too few) of the demands placed on their elementary brothers and sisters.
The committee will take up its work early next year. There will be another canvass for members, particularly from the secondary schools.
SAVE OCTOBER 18TH
PCT members will want to mark their calendars for the afternoon of October 18, 2001, from 4-7 PM when our union will hold its annual party to welcome our newest members and to celebrate the retirement of those who will leave us this June. The PCT Party will again be held at the Woodbury Country Club on Jericho Tpk. There will be a nominal charge for tickets. The PCT Executive Board has created a line in the PCT Budget for this party that will take care of most of the cost.
RUBIN SCHOLARSHIP WINNER
On Wednesday, May 23, 2001, Kennedy SRC Chair Tracey Gonzalez representing the PCT awarded this years PCT Paul Rubin Memorial Scholarship to Kennedy senior Danny Frost. Our scholarship is awarded to individuals who show promise of leading lives dedicated to the service of others.
We have received the following letter from Danny:
I would like to thank you for awarding me the Paul Rubin Memorial Scholarship. There is no greater honor than to be acknowledged for working conscientiously towards bettering the human condition. Not only will the award help to support my higher education, but the certificate will serve as a constant affirmation that I am following a worthy life and career path. I plan to continue promoting the ideals of the working person, a task performed tirelessly by the man for whom my scholarship is named. Once again, thank you for this honorable recognition. It means a great deal to my family and to me.
HELP FOR COLLABORATIVE TEACHERS?
At their meeting with the Superintendent on June 13, 2001, the Officers of the PCT raised the need to bring some unity and coherence to the so-called "collaborative instruction model". Put simply, a collaborative classroom is one in which a regular education teacher is teamed with a special education teacher so as to make it possible for special education children to be accommodated in the class and thereby be in the least restrictive environment.
Among the many concerns expressed were the great differences in the program from school to school and some times from class to class within a school, the absence of time for collaborating teachers to meet to plan their work together, the lack of clearly defined roles and responsibilities for regular and special education teachers, the very significant increase in the work load of some special education teachers, the assignment of new teachers to the district to these classes and the often considerable and unwarranted pressures brought on collaborative teachers by parents who have not been given a clear sense of what is to be expected from these classes.
PCT Officers were encouraged to find Dr. Brooks sympathetic to the needs of PCT members working in these classes. The Officers discussed with him various ways of improving the current situation, particularly in the area of how to find time for common planning. A number of practical solutions were discussed which Dr. Brooks promised to take up with his building principals. The Officers left hopeful that some improvements will be made before the start of school in September.
NEA CONVENTION SET FOR JULY
The annual convention of the National Education Association will take place the first week in July. The PCT will be represented at this meeting by President Morty Rosenfeld, Secretary Judi Alexanderson, High School Vice-President Cindy Feldman and CUPCT President Lillian Feigenbaum. Under the PCT Constitution, delegates to the NEA Convention are selected from the officers of our union by the PCT Executive Board.
Among the more controversial issues to be debated are a proposed partnership agreement with the American Federation of Teachers and a no-raid agreement between the two teacher unions.
The partnership agreement calls for a bureaucratic structure whereby the NEA and AFT could work together on issues of mutual concern. It is seen by the leadership of the NEA as a small step toward an eventual merger. Although the agreement does not bind the two unions in any way, there are those who are nevertheless against it. It will be interesting to see if the anti-merger forces within the NEA muster enough votes to defeat this very modest, almost timid proposal.
The no raid agreement will also be interesting. While there has been an informal agreement not to try to take away each others locals, many state organizations have apparently not honored it and have been poaching locals. Here in New York, it has become clear that New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) has lent support to the leaderships of locals who expressed an interest in leaving NEA/New York. In fact several NEA/New York locals have very recently voted to affiliate with NYSUT. NYSUT is apparently prepared to accept them even though an informal no-raid agreement was supposed to have been in place. Can the national unions fashion a no-raid agreement that can be enforced at the state and local levels? Many delegates will be expecting answers to this question.
Members interested in following events at the NEA Convention can do so through the national union web page at nea.org. There will be daily bulletins and audio feeds from the convention floor. The PCT web page will have a summary of events around the 12th of July.
NEW E-MAIL ADDRESS?
If you have changed your e-mail address, please let us have your new one. Simply send an e-mail to the PCT at E-mail is an important way for the PCT to keep in touch with its membership and to help them stay informed. Members find it a convenient way to ask questions and get written answers to complicated questions. Its also a great way for members to keep the leadership informed of their views. If you have an e-mail address and havent shared it with the PCT, please send it to us today.
PCT SUMMER HOURS
Unlike many local education unions, the PCT is open all summer to serve the needs of its membership. From June 25 to August 31, the PCT Office will be open from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM from Monday through Thursday. At other hours, there is always voice mail. Voice mail messages will be returned the next business day.
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